Amazonian Medicine Terms and Definitions

Amargo - “Mate Amargo” means yerba mate that has no additives, such as sugar, agave, honey, lemon, milk, etc.

Algarrobo - A common type of wood, aka carob, used to make yerba mate gourds in Argentina.

Bombilla - The filtered straw used to sip yerba mate.

Canchada - Coarsely ground yerba mate.

Çapó - Guarana stick, grated into water.

Casho - A traditional infusion of leaves from the Anacardium occidentale tree. Used to treat diarrhea, mouth ulcers, tonsillitis, throat problems, and to wash wounds.

Cebador - The person who prepares the mate in a mate circle.

Chimarrão - Brazilian term meaning yerba mate prepared in hot water without sugar.

Despalada - Maté without any stems. A synonym is “sin palos”.

Dulce - Maté dulce means sugar has been added to the yerba mate. Sugar is usually added before the hot water is added.

Fábrico - Term used to describe the various stages of processing of guarana by the Satere-Mawe indians.

Gaucho - Gaucho mate is yerba mate that is common in Brazil and Uruguay, and uses very strong, often powdery, yerba mate cuts.

Guarani - a member of an American Indian people of Paraguay and adjacent regions. This also refers to the language spoken by this population, which consists of over 3 million speakers.

Guayusa - Refers to the plant Ilex guayusa, a similar plant to the commonly consumed yerba maté.

Jicara - Spanish for the cups which cacao was drunk from.

Lavado - Spanish for “wash”, used in reference to yerba mate meaning the brew has become watery and needs to be replaced with new leaves. “The mate is lavado”.

Maté -  (also called guampa) is the gourd, or vessel used to prepare and drink yerba mate

Maté cocido - Hot coals atop a pile of yerba mate, and sprinkling sugar over the leaves, and caramelizing the sugar before the whole mixture is poured into boiling water.

Matero - Yerba mate enthusiast

Mborobire - Coarsely ground yerba mate.

Mineros - Meaning “mine workers”. This referred to early yerba mate harvesters in Paraguay, due to yerba mate being classified as a mineral during that time for economic reasons.

Molida - Finely ground mate, usually the finished product that is then packaged and shipped around the world for consumption.

Molinillo - Utensil with a ribbed head, on a straight handle, used to form the foam in cacao beverages.

Palos - Small white twigs included in some yerba mate to enhance its flavor, providing added sweetness, and adds smooth flavor to the mate.

Palo santo - Bulnesia sarmientoi. This Amazonian wood is often used to make mate gourds, offering its strong, dense, and aromatic qualities. A gourd made of this wood imparts a smoky, pine-like taste to the beverage. Often found in Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia. The resin of this wood has healing properties of its own.

Pirarucu - Arapaima gigas. An amazonian fish. Its tongue was often used to grind the guarana “sticks” to then be made into a beverage by the Satere-maue indians.

Polvo - Meaning powder. This refers to the dust contained in Yerba mate preparations. Many companies will remove this dust, however in a small amount, this polvo will help the mate stick together, and impart added flavor, making the cycle last longer.

Ramas - Brazilian amazonian term for roasted whole seeds.

Sin Palo - Yerba mate without twigs, some consider the mate is harsher without these twigs.

Tapado - Meaning clogged. This term refers to the bombilla used to drink yerba mate when it becomes plugged. “El mate este tapado”.

Tarefeiros - Wild yerba mate harvesters.

Tauarí - a cigar rolled from tree bark, and often smoked along with the consumption of guarana. (Couratari tauari is the species)

Terere - (portuguese) Yerba mate that is brewed cold, comes from traditions in Paraguay due to the hot summer months.

Secado - The process where yerba mate is dried over gentle heat, usually takes place after sapecado.

Satere-maue - A Brazilian indigenous tribe located in the Amazon. This was the first culture to domesticate, and cultivate guarana (Paullinia cupana).

Xicalli - Nahuatl word to describe the hemispherical cups that cacao was drunk from.

Yerba canchada - Refers to the roasted, dried, and coarsely ground Ilex paraguariensis “tea” that has not been aged further, or ground finely the way most yerba mate is sold.

Yerbales - Yerba mate orchards.

Yerbateros - Wild yerba mate harvesters.

Yuyos - Herbs and roots used in traditional remedies in Paraguay that are then added to yerba mate. Some examples include peppermint, cilantro, chamomile, etc.